Disappointed Blues prop James Tamou says he and his teammates can hold their heads high after producing a mammoth defensive effort in Origin I to keep a Queensland side to just one try in a second half that the Maroons completely dominated in both possession and field position.
"It is hard to take but I'll keep saying this all through the next couple of weeks – we can hold our head high," Tamou told NRL.com after his team's 11-10 defeat on Wednesday night.
"We can still be confident going into Game Two. That Queensland side, they've got a lot of superstar players and they threw a fair bit at us. We can hold out head high, we did well to hold our line there and it ended with a field goal."
He praised the repeat efforts in defence as the Blues soaked up several sets at the own line without cracking.
"Everyone just kept pushing for each other," he said.
"It was really pleasing to see everyone buying into our system. It was theirs to lose, they had all the ball down our end and we had hardly any ball down their end."
Tamou conceded while the Blues could improve in attack, that would come with an even spread of possession.
"If we had a couple more sets down their end we would have done better but these games are won defensively so I think going into game two we can keep building on that."
Having conceded the opening try, NSW found another level and arguably finished as the better side of the first half, taking a 10-6 lead to the break.
It came on the back of a series of massive charges from Tamou and starting front row partner Aaron Woods, whose 157 metres was the most of any forward in the game.
"I think Woodsy played really well, he really took the lead there for us, he'll come close to players' player," Tamou said.
"He did really well. And our interchange front rowers, big Klem [David Klemmer] for his first [Origin] game, he did really well, and Andrew Fifita, he has a lot to offer."
Tamou also threw his support behind halves Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson, who have already been guaranteed retention for Game II by coach Laurie Daley.
"They definitely did [combine well], they might get a bit of flak here and there but we know as players they played well and they can hold their head high. They can take that out of it and bring it into the next game because they'll be there for Game Two."